Since time immemorial, eating and drinking has been the most indispensable need of mankind. Without them fulfilling their craving for food and drinks, the entire human race would have been wiped out by now because of hunger or thirst. It is in this concept that scientists and researchers have tried to unravel the mystery behind the basic instinct of men to crave for food and drinks. What makes nations fight over food or conquer a land for such a reason is still an enigma to many of us even until today. So what is it that makes men go look for food?
Aside from the belief that food can strengthen the body to keep it functioning, what stimulates people to eat and drink at a certain time of the day? Medical science tells us that the food taken internally becomes completely absorbed and depleted in the digestion system in about three to four hours. After which, a chemical signal is being sent to the brain to tell the person to eat and the so-called appetite signal administered by a hormone makes the person crave for food. It is also this hunger signal system that determines the satisfaction levels of a person for eating or drinking.
When this system malfunctions, it can result to a continuous desire for food and drinks, which can eventually lead to obesity or lack of control for eating and drinking. Obesity has already become an epidemic in most the countries of the world that medical researchers have tried to expansively study its cause and its variety of treatments. Is there a cure for obesity? With this question in mind, a lot of miracle drugs or reducing pills have emerged in the market to convince obese people that there is an easy way to losing weight or controlling binge eating.
Some drugs are suppressants of appetites while some are herbal medicines that therapeutically burn fats in the body. A lot of methods to reduce fats in the body have also been done like the liposuction procedure in most weight loss clinics today. Physiological Theories All the same, medical research still pinpoints to lack of control in eating and drinking as the main culprit for the obesity problem. William A. Banks, professor of geriatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, speculates that people gain fat due to the lack of a protein called leptin that communicates the need for a person to stop eating.
According to him, insufficiency of leptin released in the blood vessels to feed the brain a signal that hunger is already satisfied can create a communication barrier that may cause uncontrolled eating. Dr. Banks is still researching on ways to avoid the communication barrier in the brain-body system by making sure that enough supply of leptin protein is present in the blood vessels. Some medical scientists are also trying to unravel the cure for obesity by focusing on the PYY hormone. PYY hormone is the gland involved in the control of appetite.
It tells the brain that the body had enough food. According to the research, the body decides that it is full when certain conditions are met and certain hormones are released. Some of the ways that human body determines such condition includes knowing the level of blood sugar, the physical fullness of the stomach, and perhaps even thru the digestive activity in the small intestine. Once these conditions are met, the brain assumes there is enough food, and then it signals the brain from hunger to satiation, which makes people stop eating.
The problem lies in the delay of this communication from the PYY hormone to the brain, which causes people to eat more than what is necessary. Researchers are looking for a way to control the message system and speed up the PYY hormone in signaling the brain to stop eating. To treat obesity, there are some people that have radically undergone gastric bypass surgery to trim down the size of the stomach, enabling them only to take smaller food amounts. Some engaged themselves in physical exercise and taking enough sunlight in the body which are effective activities that could help control appetite.
Psychological Factors Appetite can also be affected by mood and social perception. There is a strong link between food and mood that could make a person eat more or less depending on his psychological condition. According to studies, people are driven to eat when they are bored, stressed, angry or sad. There are also cravings for food when people see or smell food in sight, when they are surrounded by other people who are eating, or when it is forced out of a habit. There are also cravings for a certain type of food like being a choco-holic or chocolate addict.
When craving is satisfied, it delivers a lift in the person’s emotional state. After the good feeling vanishes, guilt sets in and may lead to eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia. People who are emotional have the greater tendency to indulge themselves in eating and drinking. It further worsens after they become obese people with guilt and shame, which could make them susceptible to stronger urges to crave for food and drinks. Emotional eating and drinking have become prevalent in the society today that therapists have come up with strategies to overcome these triggered situations.
To avoid situations that may lead to overeating, they suggest people to take time to play, read a book, to go for a walk, talk to a friend, clean the house, meditate, or take a long bath. The person should be relived of the emotional stress or whatever feeling that can cause boredom, frustration or stress so that unhealthy habits like uncontrolled eating and drinking can be removed from one’s lifestyle. Some therapists suggest a meal plan for people who lack control in eating. They said obese people need to plan the quantity and the kind of foods they should take in.
As much as possible, they should eat less than the normal portion, learn to eat slowly and avoid eating a couple of hours before going to bed. The more they plan and ritualized their eating, the greater the tendency to avoid overeating. It is also suggested that people who lack control in eating should avoid gatherings that could trigger over indulgence in food and drinks. They should also avoid friends or companions who has the same eating problems. Obese people should also learn how to shift their paradigm about pleasure in eating.
They should rather consider eating only as a necessary thing to do just like giving fuel to a car. Moreover, they should try to avoid cooking for other people to prevent stimulation of eating through sight or smell. Obese people get the tendency to eat more because of lack of activities. That is why, therapists have also suggested activities that the obese could engage in to prevent them from thinking about food and increase their body metabolism. Several exercises are suggested and active sports like swimming, roller skating, running, cycling and tennis are greatly encouraged.
Activities that promote slow metabolism like watching TV and knitting should be avoided. The Sad fact Despite all these studies and researches on physiological and therapeutic cure for lack of control for eating and drinking, obesity remains an epidemic that affects women more than men today. Obesity has been linked to pop soda and junk foods that pervades in the market. It has been said to be caused by a genetic imbalance or a hereditary disease that affects children from birth. It has been treated as a social malaise that is why people have become so obsessed with weight loss nowadays.
This epidemic has lead to an increase in the number of health club enrollees of more than 20 million people to more than 10,000 health clubs establishments in the US alone. It is believed that one-third of Americans population is overweight and has problems with eating control. Some questions remain unanswered: Is there a cure for obesity? Can people really take ownership of their eating habits? Since the human body is strongly linked to consumption of food, appetite is really a natural and normal physical urge.
An imbalance usually occurs if there are wrong perceptions about food and about oneself. Any person can have controlled appetite given the right physiological and psychological treatment necessary. Proper education on balanced food consumption can also help in preventing obesity problems. People can take ownership of their eating habits when they realize that it is their personal responsibility to choose the quality and quantity of food intake as well as in providing essential opportunities for the holistic growth of their body, soul, and spirit, which are interlinked to one another.
People need to have restraint and moderation in everything. Anything that is not balanced can create a lot of problems, whether it is in nutrition, lifestyle or attitude. It is believed that control is innate in a man; it is a God-given virtue or asset. It may only be lost if not often used in life by allowing indulgences to corrupt the maturity in individuals. If people would only learn to constantly use self-control, simple joys in life like eating and drinking should never become a major problem, not even an epidemic.